(Was guest - chuck and guest - guest on this thread.)
Well, a day or two ago, rebooted the desktop, and things worked. I was impressed with the speed that the first page I tried in Firefox came up with. I was on the phone with a Sonic rep, and I was concerned that I was pulling pages out of cache, so the rep suggested crackle.com, which I hadn't been to before, and it came up real fast. While I had been creeping along on dialup till I got the DSL scene going, so it may have just seemed fast, I still think it's significantly faster than AT&T's 768kbps DSL service. The pages draw almost instantaneously. Nice!
So I became curious as to what the speed was. I turned to sonic's speed test (the one with the little ball going sideways). Speed not very impressive at all
About 700 kbps down and half that going up, about what I had with AT&T. Running through a Firefox browser, old PC running Windows 2000 SP4. When I tried this on my 2009-vintage ASUS netbook running WinXP tapping wirelessly into the local neighborhood unsecured Wifi, I got about twice this speed under Internet Explorer. I later concluded, and had confirmed by a Sonic rep on the phone, that this test relies on Adobe Flash, which seems to be a real CPU hog in my experience. I know that the CPU meter on my desktop was pegged running this test. So I tried a dslreports.com JAVA-based test running from Palo Alto, and my numbers for the desktop were closer to 3.1Mbps download. Well, better. The netbook didn't have the Java setup to run this test. Well, as long as the page display is fast, the other big thing is file download speed. The rep yesterday tuned and capped my line at 6-or-so Mbps. He directed me to ftp.sonic.net/pubs. I tried downloading the 100MB file. The best I would've seen on the AT&T service for something like that would've been about 70KB/s. On the Sonic download, it nearly blew me out of my seat going at 600-700KB/s (according to Firefox). That's more like it!, and the rep said I was doing about 6 Mbps, so I'm getting what I should.
As a note, I also tried downloading that file wirelessly on the Netbook, and got about 16Mbps, so the wireless is certainly faster, if it's available.
Now for kinda the other side of the coin. A question or two. Seems that using the DSL modem in bridged mode really tends to make my computer's Ethernet card visible. The Sonic reps could see what I had there, the world did not stop at the modem's door (like it probably did before) - D-Link card and all. Also, going to someplace like grc.com, it always says my address is 50-0-174-100.dsl.dynamic.sonic.net (although on my firewall it says the 100 is a 0). The sonic rep yesterday said that address might change every once in a while, but frankly I doubt it's going to. So it almost amounts to a fixed/static IP address, where I've been used to (and frankly prefer) a dynamic one. Am I right to be a little concerned, security wise. In non-bridged mode, I read somewhere that the modem has a state-ful (?) firewall (so one more layer of security), but I suspect that's gone in bridged mode. Is Sonic one of those IPs that has a "firewall", like I've read of some ISPs having? grc.com's Shield's UP gave me all green, as it always has. But I wonder if a bridged modem and a software firewall is something I need to think about. Any thoughts?